Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Mullangi (Radish) Sambar

The recipe below is based on one my mother gave me seven years ago. Curiously, I have had to make several modifications over the years to get it to taste more like her sambar. Part of the reason for that is that some of the measurements, like the exact measurements for certain ingredients, are a little rough, and I don’t precisely measure the amount that I use, either. I’ve noted a few suggestions that have worked for me in green. Feel free to experiment with some of the numbers to make this work for you.

4 oz. toor dhaal
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon of tamcon (I like to use closer to a tablespoon)
1 teaspoon of salt (should be equal to the amount of tamcon)
1 1/2 teaspoons of sambar powder (I make these heaping teaspoons)
1 bunch of red mullangi (red radishes) cut into thin circles*
2 cups water
*Any other vegetable can be used. However, if using onion or okra, they have to be sauteed first in oil.

1 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon of fenugreek (methi) seeds
1/2 teaspoon of hing or to taste
curry leaves and/or coriander leaves

Prepping the Dhaal
Cook 4 oz. of toor dhaal with turmeric in a pressure cooker with twice the amount of water in the inner container containing the dhaal, and a cup of water in the pressure cooker itself. When steam starts to come from the opening, add the weight to let the pressure build up. After the first release of pressure, reduce heat to low and continue cooking another 10 minutes before removing from the stove. Let the pressure reduce before opening.

Making the Sambar
While the pressure is reducing, add the tamcon, salt, mullangi, and sambar into a vessel containing 2 cups of water. Let it boil until the radish pieces cook the raw smell of the sambar powder goes away. Then add the cooked toor dhaal to it (I like to mash up the toor dhaal into a smooth paste before adding it in), and bring it back to a boil. Add water at this point if the consistency looks a little too thick, mixing it in with the inner container to remove any excess toor dhaal.

Preparing the Garnish and Putting It All Together
In a separate (small) container, heat the vegetable oil and add in mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds to taste. When the mustard seeds start to pop, remove from the stove pour them into the vessel containing the sambar (should sizzle). Add sambar into this container to loosen any mustard seeds or methi seeds that get stuck. Turn off the stove, add the hing, curry leaves and/or coriander leaves. Cover for about a minute, then stir and taste.


3 responses

  1. I’ve been sitting on this recipe for so long (I think I have the original?) … It’s actually pretty sad. I should really give it a try and see how it goes. This week!

    Of course, having never tried your mom’s, I will have to compare mine to yours, so it will be a second-order approximation of your mother’s. But wikipedia tells me that that’s okay.

    July 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm

  2. Pingback: That Ashy Kitchen Aroma « Dirty Hands

  3. K

    You totally should, and let me know how it turns out! I put up a couple recipes that might go well the sambar:
    Adai (South Indian crepe) and coconut chutney

    Bon apetit.

    July 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

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